Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Keaton and Public Law 100-446

Now I don't remember Keaton appearing in an episode of "Schoolhouse Rock." Must have been that one that started with that "I'm just a Bill" song. Guess I missed Buster's cameo.

So - what do you know about Public Law 100-446?

Well it seems that it started out as an appropriations bill for the United States Department of the Interior. Introduced on 6/20/1988 and sponsored by Representative Sidney Richard Yates of Illinois, the primary focus of this document was the annual appropriations of funds for the department, including, among many other things, "Authorization of the Secretary of the Interior to guarantee a loan made by the Federal Financing Bank to Guam for water system improvements.

It also contained something called the "Mrazek-Yates amendment". Film fans known this as the "National Film Preservation Act of 1988".

This little act of Congress directed the Librarian of Congress to establish a National Film Registry, and a National Film Preservation Board. It included three years of annual a quarter million dollars of funding to establish that Board, with the intent of selecting up to 25 films each year to include on that Registry. And, it addressed a major controversy of the day - the coloration of classic Black and White film.

Now Mr Eric J. Schwartz gives a nice little write-up on the Mrazek-Yates amendment,
the controversy it sparked, and the work done by Representatives Yates, Robert Mrazek of New York, and Senators Patrick Leahy (Vermont) and Dennis DeConcini (Arizona) to draft, then get the amendment passed.

Schwartz states,
It has often been said that the two things people should not see king made are sausages and the law.
and notes that the Mrazek-Yates amendment represented a perfect example of this in action. It's well worth reading.

So - what does all this have to do with Keaton?

Well, on December 30, 2008 , the Library of Congress announced the latest 25 films added to the registry. The list now totals 500 shorts and feature length films. Too many?

I'll turn to a statement written by Andre Soares and found on the Alternative Film Guide

Sounds like a whole lot, no? Well, to put things in perspective: in a single year in the 1920s, they’d make as many as 700 motion pictures. And I mean features.

Here's the complete list.

Keaton's 1920 classic short "One Week" was one of the 2008 selections.

In past years, Keaton productions "The General" (1927, added 1989), "Sherlock Jr." (1924, added 1991) , "Cops" (1922, added 1997 ), and "The Cameraman" (1928, added 2005) have made the cut.

Congratulations Buster!

No comments: